Monday, March 25, 2019

Luna Stage's production of Heartland opens April 4

Brian Corrigan (r)Beejan Land (c), and Lipica Shah (l) (Photo) will star in Luna Stage's production of Heartland. The intercontinental love story by Gabriel Jason Dean, directed by Ari Laura Kreith will run from April 4-April 28. 

The fourth production of Luna’s 2018-2019 Season, Heartland is set in Nebraska and Afghanistan. It has been described as "a magical new play about family, grace, and the consequences of defending an American Empire.” Nazrullah, a young Afghani mathematician, arrives on the doorstep of retired Omaha literature professor Harold Banks, carrying a copy of The Old Man and the Sea. Across the world in Maidan Shar, Harold's adopted daughter Getee teaches The Diary of Anne Frank to girls at the Blue Sky School. Weaving back and forth through time, Heartland explores the uncertain terrain of love, moral responsibility, and what it truly means to care for one another.

 “Heartland is about the struggle to forgive and be forgiven: what does it mean to be complicit?” asks Lipica Shah, playing Getee in Luna’s production. Shah recently performed at MCC in India Pale Ale and Cost of Living, and in Assembled Identity at HERE Arts Center. “Can intent be noble if the resulting actions cause pain? Is there a way to truly understand consequences before being forced to live with them?”

“The dialogue and scenes are rich and simple to ride in Heartland,” says Beejan Land, who plays Nazrullah. Land, previously seen in Rock the Kasbah and The Imposter, says that Gabriel Jason Dean’s play “has really captured my heart and soul in a big way.”
Ultimately, “this is a play about acceptance,” Brian Corrigan adds, who plays Harold at Luna Stage. Corrigan, a veteran voice and stage actor, has appeared in The Blacklist and Inside Amy Schumer. “Truth, [Harold] believes, is chaos. We can’t make sense of it. We can only learn to accept it, and each other.”
Shah continues: “At a time in which almost all the imagery of the Middle East and Islam is negative and one-dimensional and othering, it is incredibly refreshing to see Afghans portrayed as fully realized humans subverting stereotypes.”

Playwright Dean "didn't want to make [Heartland] a 'political' play, but rather a play that was very personal – a chamber play about people living out unfortunate political decisions."
Tickets are $16-39, and are available at or by calling 973-395-5551. A limited number of premium Opening Night tickets are available for $59, which includes the post-show party with cast and creative team.
About the Artists
Brian Corrigan’s performance experience includes… Theater: Measure for Measure, As You Like It, The Taming of the Shrew, Gun Shy, Below the Belt, Sylvia, Baby with the Bath Water, All in the Timing, El Grande de Coca-Cola. Film & Television: The Blacklist, Inside Amy Schumer, Master of None, The Late Show, Forever, House of Cards, Law & Order SVU, Blow Out, Being There, Best Friends. Over 40 years of radio and television commercials, primarily as a voice actor.

Beejan Land is an Award-winning Australian actor most known for Rock the Kasbah opposite Bill Murray in a supporting lead, directed by Academy Award-winning Barry Levinson. He is currently Executive Producing and Acting in the Limited Series The Imposter with eOne and Hulu, directed by Emmy Award-winning Greg Yaitanes. A graduate Australia’s NIDA, Beejan also studied at French clown school Ecole Jacques Lecoq. He has performed in over 40 stage productions for companies including the Melbourne Theatre Company, The Sydney Opera House, the Sydney Theatre Company, the Griffin Theatre Company, the Tamarama Rock Surfers Theatre, and Australian Theatre Company. Beejan moved from Australia to Paris in February 2009 to work with world renowned Parisian director Ariane Mnouchkineʼs company, Theatre du Soleil. He spent the next four years working alongside peers creating and performing Les Naufragés du Fol Espoir (Aurores) which was awarded the 2010 Moliere Award for Best Acting of an Ensemble. This is his first time treading the boards since his time in Paris. @BeejanLand

Lipica Shah is a New York City-based actor/singer who thrives on collaborative work and has a passion for new script development. Luna Stage: Debut! Select NYC: India Pale Ale and Cost of Living (MTC), Assembled Identity (HERE), Bunty Berman Presents… (The New Group), Coping (Fringe); Select Regional: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Orange, Passing Strange, and simultaneously originating the title roles in The Chronicles of Kalki and Shiv as part of the “The Displaced Hindu Gods Trilogy” (all at Mixed Blood), The Lake Effect (Geva Theatre), The Who and The What (Gulfshore Playhouse); Select Film/TV: A Silent Voice, Admission, Time After Time, The Following, White Collar, Pokémon, Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin. She is on the leadership team of Kalakars, an organization that nurtures South Asian and South Asian-American talent in front of and behind the camera.

Gabriel Jason Dean’s plays have been seen or developed throughout the U.S. at theatres such as New York Theatre Workshop, Manhattan Theatre Club, McCarter Theatre, The Flea, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and American Theatre Company. In Bloom was a finalist for the Laurents/Hatcher Award, received the Kennedy Center’s Paula Vogel Prize, and was runner-up for the Princess Grace. His play for children, The Transition of Doodle Pequeño received the AATE Distinguished Play Award, the NETC Aurand Harris Award and has been anthologized numerous times. Other notable plays include Terminus (2016 Austin Critic’s Table “Best Drama”) and Qualities of Starlight (2016 Broadway Blacklist, Kesselring Nominee). Fellowships include the Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University, the Dramatist’s Guild Fellowship and the Sallie B. Goodman/McCarter Theatre Fellowship. Dean is currently an affiliated writer at The Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis and a usual suspect at New York Theatre Workshop. He earned his MFA at the University of Texas at Austin’s James A. Michener Center for Writers.

Ari Laura Kreith recently directed Luna’s production of Pirira. She is also the founder and Artistic Director of Theatre 167, where she conceived and directed The Jackson Heights Trilogy — three full-length plays collaboratively written by 18 playwrights featuring 37 actors in 93 roles in 14 languages. NYC World Premieres: Mourning Sun (Theatre 167/Uganda), Pirira, Tina Howe’s Singing Beach. European premiere: Adam Guettel’s Myths and Hymns. Immersive, site-specific: Queens Museum, NY Transit Museum; touring excerpts of Marina Budhos’ novel Watched. Commissions: New Ohio; Queens Theatre. LPTW Lucille Lortel Visionary Award; NYIT Caffe Cino Fellowship. BA: Yale, MFA: UC Davis, Member: SDC.

About Luna Stage
Luna Stage develops and produces vibrant plays about local and global experiences. Luna brings communities together for artistic events that spark conversations and create understanding and change. Firmly rooted in New Jersey's Valley Arts District—a crossroads of cultures—the Company celebrates the diverse voices that surround us. Luna Stage is dedicated to eliminating barriers to participation and nurturing the next generation of audiences and artists.

Luna’s classes for children and adults, and its developmental programs for early career artists, inspire community members to nurture their own creativity and vision.
Luna Stage has contributed to the development of over 80 new works for the stage, earning a reputation for artistic excellence. Some of those plays have gone on to productions in New York City and beyond. Luna’s unique approach to producing, as well as the work itself, fosters an environment of inclusivity, understanding, and infinite possibility.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Aspire Performing Arts Company spring production: Once on this Island Junior,

Aspire Performing Arts Company is setting the stage for its spring production of Once on this Island Junior, taking place April 5 and 6 at Preakness Reformed Church in Wayne, NJ.
Once on this Island Junior is an adaptation of the full-length musical by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty. The recent Broadway revival won the 2018 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical. 

The story is based on the popular Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale "The Little Mermaid,” and follows Ti Moune, a peasant girl who rescues and falls in love with Daniel, a young man from a wealthy family. When Daniel is returned to his land, the gods who rule the island guide Ti Moune on a quest to test the strength of her love against the powerful forces of prejudice, hatred, and even death.

Once on this Island Junior features stage and music direction by Benjamin Yates, and choreography by Lisa Beth Vettoso, Aspire PAC Artistic Director. Katie Roth is Assistant Director and Stage Manager, and Katelyn Bollinger is the Production Assistant.
Performances will take place on Friday, April 5 at 7:00PM and Saturday, April 6 at 3:00PM and 7:00PM at Preakness Reformed Church, located at 131 Church Lane in Wayne, NJ. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit or contact Aspire PAC at 201-220-4933 or

Aspire has earned a strong reputation in the Northern NJ area for its high-quality theatrical productions and professional arts experiences for local youth. Aspire has been nominated for eight New Jersey Association of Community Theaters (NJACT) Awards and five Broadway World Regional Awards. In 2017 and 2018, Aspire won 13 National Youth Arts Awards. 

For more information on Aspire Performing Arts Company, please visit .

'Shakespeare’s Lost Masterpiece' at Center Players Dessert Theater

Center Players Dessert Theater will present the East Coast premiere of Shakespeare’s Lost Masterpiece at Center Playhouse, 35 South St, in downtown Freehold, NJ from April 5-14, 2019. 

This black box production of Larry Americ Allen’s controversial play will be directed by Darrell Lawrence Willis, Sr. The play centers around a burnt-out professor of literature who discovers that a homeless man unknowingly has Shakespeare's lost manuscript. When the man refuses to surrender the priceless manuscript, the professor shows he is willing to do anything to obtain the play. Full of twists and turns and ruthless integrity, the play is a seductive journey climaxing into a heavenly-hellish ending. Patrons are warned that the work contains explicit language and themes. 

On Saturday, April 6th, there will be a special performance featuring pre-show appetizers and beverages, and a talk back after the performance with the playwright who is traveling from San Francisco to celebrate the east coast premiere. Coffee and desserts will follow the talk back and will allow for further discussion with the playwright, director and cast. 

Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 2pm. Tickets for are priced at $25-27 and are available online at or by calling 732-462-9093. Tickets for the special April 6th performance and reception will be $35. 

Following this production, Center Players will present Dial M for Murder, written by Frederick Knott and directed by Dave McGrath, running May 17 - June 16. Rounding out the season will be Josefina López’s Real Women Have Curves, directed by Bernice Garfield-Szita, with performances July 26 - August 18. 

Celebrating its 18th season at Center Playhouse, Center Players is a respected, award-winning organization, presenting high quality, engaging productions featuring local talent in downtown Freehold. In addition to their signature plays, the group also sponsors free play reading events and offers dinner and theater packages with several local restaurants. 

Women Playwright Series returns at Centenary Stage

The popular Women Playwright Series (WPS) is back at Centenary Stage, with three exciting new plays by playwrights Jacqueline Goldfinger of Philadelphia (photo), Ruth Kirschner of San Francisco and Alyssa Haddad of Brooklyn.  The playwrights will be in residence for the Series, featuring a cast of professional actors and directors, to be presented in the Lackland Center on Wednesday evenings, April 10, 17th and 24th at 7:30 PM.

 In “Babel” by Jacqueline Goldfinger, prospective parents in a compelling  version of a near-future society learn within the first weeks of conception which traits their child will have and what behaviors it is likely to exhibit. Based on these test results, they are either issued a PRE certification which legally guarantees the baby will be a "good" person or not. Without the certification, the child will be limited in what it is allowed to do. Two couples, both early in their pregnancies, collide over what to do with their PRE certification test results. With rapid advances in reproductive technology, modern eugenics is science’s Wild West. The play asks, “What will we do to “civilize” it and ourselves? How far will we go when playing God?”  And in a delightful twist, a talking stork confronts some existential questions.  “Babel” will be presented Wednesday, Apr. 10 at 7:30 PM in the Lackland Center.

Playwright Jacqueline Goldfinger  co-Founded The Foundry @ PlayPenn and Curates Page By Page. She is an Affiliated Artist at New Georges and The Lark. She is a member of the writers’ labs at The Barrow Group and Azuka Theatre. She won the Yale Drama Prize, the Smith Prize, the Generations Award, the Brown Martin Award, the Barrymore Award, and the Philadelphia Critics Award. She was a Finalist at the 2018 International Book Awards. Her plays have been developed and/or produced by theaters including: The National Theatre/London, Wilma Theatre, The Kennedy Center, La MaMa, Disquiet/Lisbon, Florida Studio Theatre, Orlando Shakespeare, Kansas City Rep, Perseverance Theatre, Capital Stage Company, The Seattle Public, Manhattan Theatre Works, and the NYC International Fringe Festival. She is a member of the Dramatists Guild and represented by Abrams Artists Agency. For more information:  She is the author of “The Arsonists” which received a Rolling World Premiere sponsored by the National New Play Network, and was hailed as extraordinary, beautifully poetic and epic in scale. 

Led by Catherine Rust (photo), the CSC Women Playwrights Series celebrates its 28th year in 2019, having featured the work of more than 78 emerging playwrights in the developmental WPS process, and having taken 18 plays to full production from the series, including  “Hitler’s Tasters” by Michelle Kholos Brooks, which transitioned to New York in the fall of 2018, and is on its way to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this summer, “The English Bride” by Lucile Lichtblau, which later transferred from CSC to a sold-out run at 59E59 Theatres in New York City, and “The Unfortunates” by Aoise Stratford, which was later featured in the NY Fringe Festival.   The WPS program offers playwrights the opportunity to work with professional actors and directors in a workshop rehearsal process, and to hear their work in front of a live audience – a critical part of the development process.  Lively talk-backs with the playwright and cast follow each presentation, and one play is selected each year as the winner of the Susan Glaspell Award, which promises a full production in the main-stage season at CSC and a monetary award for the playwright.
Admission to the WPS is by donation and reservations are suggested, as seating is often limited.  For information and reservations, call the CSC box office at 908 979 0900, or log on to
The WPS receives support from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, the NJ State Council on the Arts, The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation, Zonta Club of Morristown, and season sponsor Heath Village. Additional support comes from a Grand Producer grant from the House of the Good Shepard. 
Coming up in WPS : 
On April 17,   “Whippoorwill” by Ruth Kirschner: Nine-year-old Bibi and her mother have made a good life together, but Bibi is determined to get to the bottom of what really happened with her father, about whom her mother tells a different story each time she asks.

On April 24, “Across the Aisle” by Alyssa Haddad:  A young interracial couple hosts their traditional families for Thanksgiving and drops the bomb that they are engaged, igniting the challenging and often hilarious question of how one creates a future with someone from an entirely different past?

Rio Clemente the 'Bishop of Jazz' in concert at the Bickford

The legendary “Bishop of Jazz”, Rio Clemente, will present his debut of
“Rio Plays Rio,” full of original music mixed in with jazz favorites, the American Song book, full band numbers plus piano solos at the Bickford Theatre at the Morris Museum on Monday, April 8 at 7:30PM.
Hailing from Morristown, NJ, Clemente is one of the most popular jazz pianists in the region. He studied at Julliard and his classical training comes through in his virtuosic style of jazz. He has appeared at the JVC Jazz Festival, the Newport Jazz Festival, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and
many other venues across the country. He has been invited to play at the White House and at the United Nations and his honors include Musician of the Year from the New Jersey Jazz Society, Professional Artist of the Year from Morris Arts, and induction into the Morristown Hall of Fame. Jazz great Dave Brubeck admired Clemente’s piano solos saying, “Rio Clemente is
EXCELLENT!” He prepared a feature CD on Richard Rodgers that led Linda Rodgers to say, “Rio plays my father’s music better than anyone I ever heard.”

Rio Clemente, who leads on the piano, is assembling a group he calls the “Abbotts” which includes: Flip Peters on guitar, Alex Gressel on bass, Vern Mobely on drums and some surprise guests.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Cast set for 'Oo-Bla-Dee' at Two River

RED BANK, NJ —Two River Theater, under the leadership of Artistic Director John Dias and Managing Director Michael Hurst, announces the complete cast for its production of Oo-Bla-Dee, written by Golden Globe Award winner Regina Taylor (CrownsI’ll Fly Away), featuring original songs by Taylor and Obie Award winning composer Diedre L. Murray (Running Man, Eli’s Comin’), directed by Tony Award winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson (August Wilson’s JitneyLackawanna Blues).

Performances will begin in Two River’s Rechnitz Theater, 21 Bridge Avenue, on Saturday, June 8 and continue through Sunday, June 30. The opening night performance is Friday, June 14 at 7pm.

The play follows Evelyn Waters and the Diviners, an all-black, all-female jazz band, as they travel from St. Louis to Chicago in order to set up a record deal following the end of World War II. On this trip toward freedom the latest member of the group, sax player Gin Del Sol, must wrestle with the complex timing of the music as well as the complicated times in which she lives.

The acting company includes Marva Hicks (Motown the MusicalCaroline, or Change) as Evelyn Waters; Amber Iman (Hamilton First National Tour, Shuffle Along) as Luna C; Jonathan Kirkland (Hamilton original Chicago company, Cabin in the Sky) as Arthur/Soldier; Stanley Wayne Mathis (The Book of MormonThe Lion King) as Shorty; Monica J. Palmer (The Lion King National Tour, Sistas the Musical) as Ruby; Stacey Sargeant (Two River’s Intimate Apparel, Rags Parkland Sings the Songs of the Future) as Lulu; Allison Semmes(Motown the MusicalThe Book of Mormon) as Gin Del Sol; and Chesney Snow(In TransitThe Unwritten Law ) as the Vocal Foley. 

Additional information about the musicians and design team for Oo-Bla-Dee will be announced soon. 

Ticket prices range from $40 to $70, with discounts available for groups, seniors, and U.S. military personnel, their families, and veterans. A limited number of $20 tickets are available for every performance; $20 tickets may be partial view. Tickets for patrons under 30 are $20 and include the best available seats at every performance. Tickets are available from the Media Partner is WBGO Jazz 88.3. Inside Two River is sponsored by The William T. Morris Foundation and The Gallery Residential Brokerage.

Two River Theater is supported in part by public support through the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Private support includes the Alec BFoundation, Bank of America Charitable Foundation, Mary Owen Borden Foundation, Brookdale Community College, The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, Investors Foundation, Jewish Federation in the Heart of New Jersey, JKW Foundation, The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Monmouth University, Ocean First Foundation, Rumson Country Day School, The Shubert Foundation, Bella and Max Shulman Family Fund, Springpoint Senior Living Foundation at The Atrium at Navesink Harbor, The John Ben Snow Foundation, The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, The Stone Foundation of New Jersey, VNA Health Group, Wells Fargo, and many other generous foundations, corporations and individuals.

Since its founding in 1994, Two River Theater has been committed to creating great American theater by developing and producing work by some of the country’s leading artists. We are proud to be viewed as a vital cultural resource in the community of Red Bank, New Jersey. Through 8+ theatrical productions each year (including world premieres, musicals, classics and theater for young audiences) and 40+ annual events happening around Monmouth County, we produce exceptional theater and cultivate engaged audiences. Two River Theater is under the leadership of Artistic Director John Dias and Managing Director Michael Hurst. For more information, visit or call 732.345.1400

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Paper Mill Playhouse’s 2019-2020 season !

Paper Mill Playhouse (Mark S. Hoebee-Producing Artistic Director, Michael Stotts-Managing Director), recipient of the 2016 Regional Theatre Tony Award, is proud to announce the lineup for its 2019-2020 season with three premieres and a total of five musicals. Season subscriptions are on sale now and are available by calling 973.379.3717 or by visiting the theater’s website at Paper Mill Playhouse’s 2019-2020 season is proudly sponsored by Investors Bank. Paper Mill Playhouse education and outreach programs are proudly sponsored by The Goren Family & Harmony Helper.

Paper Mill Playhouse will open its 2019-2020 season with a highly anticipated new musical about one of the world’s most beloved entertainment icons. Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz (September 26-October 27)  is the story of how five-year-old Frances Gumm became Judy Garland, chronicling her early career from vaudeville to her rise at MGM, where she wins the role of Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. Next, a dash of fairytale romance, magical onstage transformations, and of course, glass slippers in this family musical just in time for the holidays, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella (November 20-December 29). This enchanting, Tony-nominated Broadway adaptation of the beloved musical will put a spell on audiences of all ages. Next winter, Paper Mill Playhouse presents the world-premiere musical Unmasked: The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber (January 30-March 1), about the remarkable life and celebrated work of Andrew Lloyd Webber. Unmasked will feature new material and rediscovered gems, along with the history of their creation intertwined with Andrew’s extraordinary personal story. In the spring, Paper Mill Playhouse welcomes back our good friend and eight-time Oscar winner Alan Menken with his Tony-nominated musical Sister Act(April 1-April 26). Based on the 1992 hit film, this feel-good musical follows Deloris Van Cartier as she goes into hiding in a convent—where she clashes, hilariously, with cloistered life. Deloris inspires the sisters with her soulful style, but the church choir’s newfound fame attracts some unwanted attention. Paper Mill Playhouse closes its 81st season with the world-premiere musical The Wanderer  (May 28-June 28), the story of  Dion DiMucci and how he skyrocketed to fame as a teenage heartthrob in the 1950s and early ’60s with hits like “Runaround Sue,” “Teenager in Love,” and “I Wonder Why.” Now, his extraordinary journey comes to the stage in a moving and intimate new musical.

“Paper Mill Playhouse is thrilled to produce two world premieres and a New Jersey premiere as part of our all-musical lineup,” commented Mark S. Hoebee, Producing Artistic Director of the Millburn theater. “Producing new works is central to our vision of becoming recognized as one of the most important incubators of new musical projects. We're opening our doors to collaborate with and host the top talents of musical theater, both established artists like Andrew Lloyd Webber and up-and-coming playwrights and composers.

“Paper Mill Playhouse’s 2019-2020 season is one of the most exciting lineups in our theater’s history,” said Managing Director Michael Stotts, “and that’s thanks in large part to the support of our loyal subscribers, who take this journey with us every year. We hope even more people will join us next season and enjoy such benefits as access to the best seats in the house, at the best prices, before we sell out. With the support of our subscribers and donors, Paper Mill Playhouse can continue to be a leader in creating and producing world class musical theater.” 

“Paper Mill Playhouse delivers high-quality, engaging performances to broad audiences. By making good theater accessible, Paper Mill enriches our local communities," said Investors Bank Chairman and CEO Kevin Cummings. "But most importantly, it provides unique educational opportunities to more than 40,000 students each year and continues to offer invaluable experiences that would not otherwise be available to them.  Arts education is key to the development of our children and young adults."

Paper Mill Playhouse will produce eight performances a week, Wednesday through Sunday. Three, four and five-show subscription packages are available now starting at just $111. Each subscription package includes a different level of special benefits ( for details). Youth subscriptions are available for children ages 4-18 with the purchase of an adult subscription with accessible discount pricing. Single tickets will go on sale on August 19 starting at just $35. Tickets and subscriptions may be purchased by calling 973.376.4343, or at the Paper Mill Playhouse Box Office at 22 Brookside Drive in Millburn, or online at  Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express accepted.  Groups of ten or more can receive up to a 40% discount on tickets and should call 973.315.1680. Titles, casting and dates subject to change.

September 26–October 27
Book by Marc Acito
Music Adapted & Additional Music by David Libby
Conceived & Created by Tina Marie Casamento
Directed & Choreographed by Denis Jones

This highly anticipated new musical about one of the world’s most beloved entertainment icons, Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz is the story of how five-year-old Frances Gumm became Judy Garland, chronicling her early career from vaudeville to her rise at MGM, where she wins the role of Dorothy in The Wizard of OzChasing Rainbows features legendary songs, including “Over the Rainbow,” “You Made Me Love You,” and “Everybody Sing.” The show has already earned praise from Liza Minnelli, who said, “My mother said that her biography is in her music, and now a talented creative team is using that music to tell the story of her early years and her extraordinary rise to fame.” 

Rodgers + Hammerstein’s CINDERELLA
November 20–December 29
Music by Richard Rodgers
Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
New Book by Douglas Carter Beane
Original Book by Oscar Hammerstein II
Directed by Mark S. Hoebee

This enchanting, Tony-nominated Broadway adaptation of the beloved musical will put a spell on audiences of all ages. Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella showcases some of the songwriting duo’s loveliest tunes, including “In My Own Little Corner,” “Impossible/It’s Possible,” and “Ten Minutes Ago,” as well as some new characters and surprising twists. Add a dash of fairytale romance, magical onstage transformations, and the iconic pumpkin and glass slippers—and you’re guaranteed to have a ball!

UNMASKED: The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber
January 30–March 1
Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber
Written with Richard Curtis
Directed by Laurence Connor

One of the most successful musical theater composers of all time takes audiences on a behind-the-scenes journey in Unmasked: The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber. Written with Richard Curtis and directed by Laurence Connor, Unmasked is a not-always-reverential look at Andrew’s life and musical career. You’ll hear his best-loved work, including classics from Jesus Christ SuperstarEvitaCatsPhantom of the Opera, and Sunset Boulevard, in sometimes new and unexpected ways. This new production will also feature new material and rediscovered gems, along with the history of their creation intertwined with Andrew’s extraordinary personal story.

April 1–April 26
Music by Alan Menken
Lyrics by Glenn Slater
Book by Cheri Steinkellner & Bill Steinkellner
Additional Book Material by Douglas Carter Beane
Based on the Touchstone Pictures Motion Picture Sister Act Written by Joseph Howard

Based on the 1992 hit film, this feel-good musical comedy smash sizzles with powerful music, spectacular dancing, and a story brimming with heart. The madcap plot is set in motion when disco diva Deloris Van Cartier witnesses a murder and must go into hiding in a convent—where she clashes, hilariously, with cloistered life. Deloris inspires the sisters with her soulful style, but the church choir’s newfound fame attracts the attention of the bad guys. Featuring original music by Tony and eight-time Oscar winner Alan Menken (NewsiesBeauty and the BeastLittle Shop of Horrors), the musical was nominated for five Tony Awards, including Best Musical.

May 28–June 28
Book by Charles Messina
Directed by Kenneth Ferone

Dion. One name set the standard of cool for a generation. But how does a kid from the Bronx make it to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? In The Wanderer, the incredible musical journey of a troubled young man turned teenage heartthrob (and, ultimately, rock and roll icon) is told in intimate and no-holds-barred detail. Dion’s music helped define a generation of rock and rollers. His lifelong battle with addiction shed a stark light on the darker side of fame and success. This musical takes both subjects head on, set to the iconic sound of an incomparable era in American music, and celebrates the triumph of the human spirit against all odds. The Wanderer is the riveting true story of Dion, New York’s rebel king, the man Bruce Springsteen calls “the link between Frank Sinatra and rock and roll.”


Paper Mill Playhouse offers its audience an opportunity to enhance their theater experience with behind-the-scenes views of mainstage productions.  Have you ever wanted to sneak a peek behind the curtain? Or wondered what the director was thinking, or how the cast prepares for a show? Join us for one of many revealing insider’s experiences.  Visit the Paper Mill Playhouse website at for dates for our Director's Viewpoint Series, Conversation Club Series, Q&As with the cast, and more.

Paper Mill Playhouse offers people with disabilities the opportunity to see live theater with dignity and independence through a myriad of award-winning access programs and services, including audio description and sensory seminars for the blind, Braille and large-print programs, American Sign Language interpretation for the deaf, open-captioning for those with hearing loss, and assistive listening devices. In addition, Paper Mill Playhouse provides autism-friendly performances of both mainstage and children’s shows throughout the season. Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella will feature an autism-friendly performance on Thursday, December 26, at 1:30pm.

PAPER MILL PLAYHOUSE, a not-for-profit arts organization under the direction of Mark S. Hoebee (Producing Artistic Director) and Michael Stotts (Managing Director) and recipient of the 2016 Regional Theatre Tony Award, is one of the country's leading regional theaters.  Paper Mill Playhouse programs are made possible, in part, by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts. Paper Mill Playhouse is a member of the National Alliance for Musical Theatre, the Council of Stock Theatres, and the New Jersey Theatre Alliance.

NJSO Youth Orchestra to present a spring concert

The NJSO Youth Orchestras present a spring concert event on May 5 at Science Park High School in Newark. Presented by M&T Bank, the event showcases the youth orchestra family’s four ensembles—the Academy Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra, String Ensemble and Training Ensemble—across two concerts. Henry Lewis Concerto Competition winners Caleb Shi and Yoo Jin Kang perform as featured soloists.

At 12:30 pm, the Training Ensemble—one of the two programs that comprise the Music Advancement for Newark-area Youth (MANY) partnership between NJPAC and the NJSO—performs with its sister program, the NJPAC Symphonic Band. NJSO Youth Orchestras Artistic Director José Luis Domínguez leads TE in Newbold’s “Ships of Ireland” and “Rock Riffs” and Balmages’ “Velocity.” The two sister ensembles join forces for Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy.”

The 4 pm concert program features performances by the Academy Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra and String Ensemble.

The Academy Orchestra performance features solo appearances by the co-winners of the NJSO Youth Orchestras’ annual concerto competition. Concertmaster Caleb Shi performs the first movement of Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5 in A Major, K. 219, and violinist Yoo Jin Kang performs the first movement of Lalo’s Symphonie espagnole, Op. 21, with the orchestra. Shi, 17, is a senior at Bergen County Academies in Hackensack, and Kang, 13, is an eighth grader at Robert R. Lazar Middle School in Montville.

Led by Domínguez, the Academy Orchestra also performs “Hoe-Down” from Copland’s Rodeo and the Overture from Glinka’s Ruslan and Ludmila.

Conductor Henry Kao, an NJSO violist, leads the Chamber Orchestra in the Overture from Bach’s Orchestral Suite No. 3; Dvořák’s Serenade, Op. 22, and Mozart’s Divertimento in D Major, K. 136.

The String Ensemble, led by NJSO violinist Naomi Youngstein, performs Newbold’s “Country Hoedown,” Vivaldi’s Concerto for Strings in C Major, RV 113, and Copland’s “Story of Our Town” (arr. Fagin).

All tickets are $5 and are available for purchase by phone at 1.800.ALLEGRO (255.3476).

Learn more about the NJSO Youth Orchestras at

Part of the NJSO Academy

The NJSO Youth Orchestras give qualified middle- and high-school students—especially African-American and Latinx youth in the Greater Newark area—unparalleled opportunities to achieve personal and musical excellence. Coaching by NJSO musicians and a supportive peer-to-peer environment provide quality learning and performing experiences and build a unique culture of collaboration. The achievements of this program and its impact on the lives of these young musicians have received national recognition from the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities.

Four distinct ensembles—the Academy Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra, String Ensemble and Training Ensemble—perform two full concerts each year and participate in masterclasses and workshops with renowned guest artists. In addition, the Training Ensemble offers joint instructional and performance opportunities with its sister program, the NJPAC Symphonic Band. Through this partnership (known as Music Advancement for Newark-area Youth, or MANY), the two organizations lay the foundation for students’ membership in their more advanced ensembles.

The NJSO Youth Orchestras annually serve more than 200 students from 11 counties across northern and central New Jersey.

Students who play orchestral instruments can apply for membership in the NJSO Youth Orchestras. For more information, visit

A partnership designed to provide students in the Newark area with high-quality instrumental music instruction

Initiated by two of New Jersey’s premier performing arts organizations—New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) and New Jersey Symphony Orchestra (NJSO)—MANY offers programs for beginning and experienced instrumental music students alike.

Participants study string, woodwind, brass and percussion instruments to develop musical and instrumental proficiency while building leadership skills. MANY also aims to prepare young instrumentalists for acceptance into performance-based educational programs within the community, including the Arts High School Orchestra and Concert Band, Newark School of the Arts, NJPAC Brick City Jazz Orchestra, Wells Fargo Jazz for Teens program and NJSO Youth Orchestras.

Annually serving more than 150 students, MANY bridges two programs: the NJPAC Symphonic Band and the NJSO Training Ensemble. The NJPAC Symphonic Band, for grades 5–8, is designed for students with little or no prior instrumental experience and provides a musical foundation in woodwinds, brass and percussion. The NJSO Training Ensemble, for grades 5–10, provides intensive musical instruction and leadership development to advanced beginner and intermediate string students.

Through the education programs that comprise the NJSO Academy, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra provides intensive coaching and instruction for musicians of all ages. The lauded youth orchestra program, El Sistema-modeled NJSO CHAMPS (Character, Achievement and Music Project), NJSO Edward T. Cone Composition Institute, NJSO Coach-in-Residence Program and customized in-school clinics and master classes create participatory learning environments across the state that foster meaningful connections with live music.

Named “a vital, artistically significant musical organization” by The Wall Street Journal, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra embodies that vitality through its statewide presence and critically acclaimed performances, education partnerships and unparalleled access to music and the Orchestra’s superb musicians.

Music Director Xian Zhang—a “dynamic podium presence” The New York Times has praised for her “technical abilities, musicianship and maturity”—continues her acclaimed leadership of the NJSO. The Orchestra presents classical, pops and family programs, as well as outdoor summer concerts and special events. Embracing its legacy as a statewide orchestra, the NJSO is the resident orchestra of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark and regularly performs at State Theatre New Jersey in New Brunswick, Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank, Richardson Auditorium in Princeton, Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown and bergenPAC in Englewood. Partnerships with New Jersey arts organizations, universities and civic organizations remain a key element of the Orchestra’s statewide identity.

In addition to its lauded artistic programming, the NJSO presents a suite of education and community engagement programs that promote meaningful, lifelong engagement with live music. Programs include school-time Concerts for Young People; NJSO Youth Orchestras family of student ensembles, led by José Luis Domínguez; and El Sistema-inspired NJSO CHAMPS (Character, Achievement and Music Project). NJSO musicians annually perform original chamber music programs at community events in a variety of settings statewide through the NJSO Community Partners program.

Tickets are available online at, by phone at 1.800.ALLEGRO (255.3476) or in person. The NJSO Patron Services office is located at 60 Park Place, Suite 900, in Newark; hours are Monday–Friday, 9 am–5 pm, and concert Saturdays, 11 am–5 pm.

For more information, visit or email

The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra’s programs are made possible in part by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, along with many other foundations, corporations and individual donors.